The Circular Economy of Steelmaking in New Zealand

Minimising waste and ensuring resources remain in use for as long as possible are key to achieving a sustainable circular economy.

Over the years, technology and innovation has enabled the steel making industry to minimise waste and maximise resource use through capturing value from by-products generated by the steelmaking process. These ‘co-products’ can be reused within the industry or used by other industries and wider society.

New Zealand Steel captures around 80% of the co-products generated at its steelmaking plant at Glenbrook where locally sourced iron sand is used to produce 650,000 tonnes of steel a year. This results in over 500,000 tonnes of solid and gaseous byproducts, most of which are either re-used or recycled on site or sold for use by other industries.

As well as maximising resource use, reducing waste to landfill and reducing CO2 emissions, these initiatives have genuine wider environmental benefits. Many of these co-products are good substitutes for materials that would otherwise need to be mined or quarried – such as aggregates for roading applications.

Sale of co-products, as valuable resources for other industries. is also economically sustainable, providing an additional income stream while supporting the circular economy.

Download our  Industry Factsheet here to find on more about what co-products are produced and how they are used,